Monday, June 19, 2017

Untitled Unblog Unpost #4

No post this week (outside of this post telling you that there isn't a post . . .)

Why? Because on Sunday, when I usually write, we were over my sister's house celebrating Father's Day and my brother-in-law's birthday. 

My father is 81 years old. 81. Somebody better tell him that. He still acts like a man who JUST retired.

What an awesome man. Still married to my mom. Still grandfather to wonderful grandchildren. Still an example of honor and integrity.

I know there are many who cannot say the same. To you I say, BE that person of honor and integrity. And if you are like me (without children), still BE that person of honor and integrity. Someone else's kid may need that example.

Happy Father's Day.

-j.p.

© Emittravel 2017

Sunday, June 11, 2017

It's a Beautiful Day at the Corner of Carnegie and Ontario

This week's blog is a little different. Instead of sitting down and writing, I've decided to go the video route. Normally I write to release some of the pressure in my head so that, like a pressure cooker, I don't blow my top. It's been a pretty stress-free week, so I decided to share a great day. Enjoy! -j.p.


















The title is a quote by Cleveland's own Tom Hamilton - sports radio announcer extraordinaire.

© Emittravel 2017

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Always Listen to Experts - and Do the Opposite

The other day I had a cordial, but short conversation with Anthony Carboni (https://twitter.com/acarboni) on Twitter that was brought on by a tweet he made in response to a tweet by Rick Santorum (https://twitter.com/RickSantorum), which was in response to a tweet from another person on Twitter. Believe me, it is less confusing than it sounds:

Santorum: Sad to be criticized by the left for something as obvious as solar (clouds & darkness) and wind (calm winds) are not reliable or consistent.

Carboni: My dude I am so excited to be the one to introduce you to batteries because they really are something special

Me: Just ignore what the creation and disposal of said batteries do to the environment. To make an omelet…

From there the conversation took some weird turns, primarily due to the fact that as one person was typing a tweet, the other person was replying to something different, so that when the next tweet arrived it was out of context of the conversation and just confused things. Anthony ended the conversation with:

Carboni: Okay, but that wasn’t the convo you started with me. So I’m gonna dip. Have a good one!

The big problem is that I’m incredibly slow when it comes to typing on my phone. I can’t hunt and peck, and using the “swipe” style always seems to bring up at least one or two words that I need to correct each time. Add to that that you are trying to formulate a coherent response in 140 characters (or less), knowing that the person you are responding to may already be sending multiple replies, makes using Twitter for intelligent conversations almost impossible.

Sigh…

Part of the conversation dealt with Anthony and I bringing up different facts to support our points, along with multiple points being made. Note I didn’t put the word facts in quotation marks. Because we BOTH were using facts to support our points. Just different facts.

And that is where I want to go in this post.

As Peter McWilliams said, “The media tends to report rumors, speculations, and projections as facts… How does the media do this? By quoting some ‘expert’ … you can always find some expert who will say something hopelessly hopeless about anything.”

Or:

As Mark Twain said, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

(And the above Twain quote is also the title of a great episode of The West Wing.)

I’m a regular shmo. My formal education consists of high school, some training in the U.S. Navy, and various seminars through my job (administrative assistant). I like to read a lot, but I’m not a “college gradjeat”. But honestly, I don’t think having higher education helps much here.

As you are probably aware, today’s media, both social and corporate, inundate us with information. And like his predecessor before him, President Trump has had a field day calling news organizations “fake news”.

(If you don’t remember, President Obama went on a personal vendetta concerning Fox News.)

Then you have “experts” telling us what we should believe based on “science”. For instance, Bill Nye, who has a degree in Mechanical Engineering, and Neil deGrasse Tyson, whose fields include astrophysics and physical cosmology, are brought out as experts when it comes to the topic of climate change. Note that neither of these gentlemen are educated in climatology. Not that they haven’t done their research, but because of their popularity the very words they speak are considered “gospel”.

We’ve heard President Obama say that, concerning climate change, “The science is settled.” Last I looked, he did not have any background in the field either.

I’m not trying to make this a post about climate change; I’m using it as a good example of the issue at hand.

To break it down, we have been told over and over that “all” scientists believe in climate change. The basis for this is that 97% (not all) of scientists WHO WROTE PAPERS ABOUT MAN-MADE CLIMATE CHANGE believe that man has a significant impact upon global climate change. That means 3% of scientists WHO WROTE PAPERS ABOUT MAN-MADE CLIMATE CHANGE do NOT believe that man has a significant impact upon global climate change. This does NOT include those scientists who did NOT write papers. Nor is it stated that these scientists (though I do assume it is true) are indeed climatologists.

This means that “all” is a subset of scientists. I know, 97% is an awfully high number, but I always thought that science was not based on the “Popular Vote”.

Depending on which research you look at, you will find different information. That is based on several factors: What was the data the researchers used (or avoided)? For WHAT was the scientists trying to prove or disprove? And WHO was paying for the study?

The company I work for has a group called Business Analytics. I’ve been in meetings with these guys and they will take data and pull amazing information and trends out of it, all depending on how they slice and dice the data.

Which brings me to my point. For ANY topic of discussion, each person not only has to do their homework, but also has had to do the SAME homework, in order to come to any understanding in a conversation. And that is the hard part.

Not only would you need to research climate change (by the way, to paraphrase an interview with Rand Paul, “How much of climate change is natural, and how much is man-made?” Give me cold, hard numbers. What is the percentage? And does the money needed to eliminate the man-made portion REALLY going to even make a dent?), but you would need to research EVERY statement you hear (please see the Peter McWilliams and Mark Twain quotes above).

And frankly, I don’t have the time. It’s not that I don’t care; I don’t have the time.

To thoroughly research EACH statement you would need to look at ALL studies, determining the what, where, why, how, and who (paid for the studies), sift out the truth from the hype, and make an informed decision.

And that, my friends, is next to impossible (unless you have all the time and money in the world).

So to Anthony Carboni, if you are even reading this, whom I highly respect and like: just because you can out argue the arguments, does NOT mean that you are right. But please, PLEASE don’t stop! I learn so much from you.

Now excuse me while I go do some serious Indians baseball watching.

(The title is a paraphrase of a great quote by Robert A. Heinlein: “Always listen to experts. They’ll tell you what can’t be done, and why. Then do it.”)


© Emittravel 2017

Monday, May 29, 2017

Better Than Baseball?

It’s Memorial Day weekend in 2017. On Sunday the Cleveland Indians finished off a three game series at home against the Kansas City Royals. They lost the first two games (6 - 4 and 5 - 2). However, on Sunday they stomped the Royals with a final score of 1 - 10. You’d think that I would have been glued to my seat, beer and salt roasted peanuts on hand, for every swing of the bat. If you thought that, you’d be wrong.

You see, Sunday was also the day of our annual Memorial Day picnic (we set up on Saturday, have the picnic on Sunday, and try to recover on Monday). So, instead of watching the game, I was enjoying the company of 29 close family and friends as we ate, laughed, shared, and everything else one does when they are with close family and friends.

We got just over 3" of rain - didn't dampen the event!

So, even though I love baseball, and would have loved to watch Josh Tomlin pitch the entire game, instead I was doing what so many were unable to do: spend time with close family and friends. And the reason so many were unable to, was the very reason for this day: they gave their very lives defending US (not just the “U-nited S-tates” but we our very selves).

It is for those who wore helmets that we take off our hats; for those whose hands held rifles that we hold our hands on our hearts; for those fallen that we stand.

To paraphrase the book of Numbers: May the Lord bless you, keep you; may His face shine upon you, and give you ULTIMATE peace.

Thank you.

(The ball players gave honor to the fallen as well. This was not meant as a negative to those who play the game.)



© Emittravel 2017

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

One of the biggest gripes I hear when talking to people about the love of baseball is that it is such a LONG season. But you have to understand:

Baseball is more than 162 games played in a year.

It is more than a three-game series.

It is more than nine innings in a game.

It is more than three outs in an inning.

It is more than four balls or three strikes in an up at bat.

Baseball is each pitch of the ball; each swing of the bat. For with each pitch, with each swing, an entire game can change. The needed momentum to pull a struggling team up from the bottom to the top can take place with that single strike out, or that single hit of the ball.

According to Gerrit Maus of UC Berkeley, a fastball takes .4 seconds to reach home plate after it leaves a pitcher's hand, but a hitter needs a full .25 seconds to see the ball and react. “Light hits our eye and the information needs to get to our brain. That takes a tenth of a second.”

Baseball is where everything hinges on that moment when the ball leaves the pitcher’s hand and what the batter does or doesn’t do with it when it reaches him.

Is a baseball season long? My God yes. My only wish is that the season could be even longer.

© Emittravel 2017

Sunday, May 7, 2017

No More Perfect Love

“There is no more perfect love than that of a pet.” - Lisa Wiegand

It’s hard to believe, but on Tuesday, the 2nd of May, we said goodbye to our 14-year old cat, Harley. He had been going downhill for just over a month. He lost so much weight that you could see all his bones. He stopped cleaning himself (which meant we were constantly wiping the milk off of his face . . . and anywhere he happened to walk after drinking said milk.) And, though he continued to use it, he stopped burying his refuse in the litterbox.

And as my wife said in the quote, there is no more perfect love. A love he never hesitated to share with us.



Here are a few things we are going to miss with Harley gone from our lives:

There isn’t a single place to sit in the house that he wouldn’t “demand” to get comfortable in our lap.


Sleeping in bed with him on top of the blanket, between my legs, across my shins (which meant I slept on my back).

Having breakfast with Lisa in the summer on the sun porch (when “daddy” was at work).


Watching “General Hospital” with Lisa in the summer afternoons.


His standing on his tiptoes, completely stretched towards the counter, as Lisa opened cans (of anything - didn’t have to be cat food) because he thought it was for him.


Our sitting on the back patio as he desperately tried to get to us through the screen door or sun porch windows.

Running down the hallway and watching his belly swing side to side.


Calling out “I have a blanky” and having him run up to lay on it with you.

Having him tap you on the back so you would lift the blanket so he could crawl under it (while we were in bed).


Saying, “Let’s go out on the sun porch”, and having him sit by the door and wait for you to open it.

Watching him completely comatose in a rocker on the sun porch, laying in the sun.

He would hunker down and make himself as heavy as possible when he didn’t want to come in and you tried to pick him up.


Having to confirm there were “no cats on the sun porch” when closing the door in the evening.

Coming home from anywhere, at any time, and having him go from greeting you at the door to sitting in front of his dish in the kitchen - waiting for his treats.

At the end of the evening, all Lisa would have to say is, “It’s time for bed. Let’s go brush our teeth,” and he would go right down the hall to the bathroom, sit on the toilet lid, and wait for the brushing to be completed.


Those, and so many more, are the things we will miss about our boy.


After Muffin left us, Harley - previously the beta to Muffin’s alpha - started coming out of his shell when company came over. Whereas before he would hide under the bed at the sound of the door opening, afterwards he would come out for whatever loving he could get from the guests.


One of the most difficult parts is that for the first time in almost 30 years, I’m living without a cat in the house. Muffin made it 20 years - and showed Harley the ropes. Oh, we could go down the street to the local pet store or shelter and get another cat, but it wouldn’t be the same. Besides, we need time to grieve.

For about a week before that night, I would sit on the floor in the bedroom, pull Harley’s “trundle bed” out from under our bed (it was the bottom half of a large plastic container. Just big enough for the pillow I slept with under my knees), and tell him, “Whenever you’re ready. It’s okay. We’ll miss you, but we know it’s time.”

Goodbye Harley. You were loved.


© Emittravel 2017

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Put Your Action Where Your Mouth Is

We received a newsletter from our city cleverly entitled “Contract for Seven Hills”. It covered a few topics such as the road resurfacing program, the sewer repair program, and park improvements. One item of interest was called “Deer Update”.

Not a typo. It wasn’t an advice column (“Deer” not “Dear”), but an update on the hunting of deer in our city. Here’s what it said:

“As we all know, residents voted in an advisory election about bow hunting of deer. With a large majority voting in favor, Council quickly legalized bow hunting. The first season was completed. Nearly 20 people received permits and 37 deer were eliminated (5 bucks and 32 doe). This is a good first step in reducing the population. Many are aware that a resident of Seven Hills sued the City and our Law Director to overturn this legislation. The City won this case in court. The decision was appealed by the resident and the City also won in the Court of Appeals.”

For starters, I don’t hunt. It’s not the hunting itself that bothers me, it’s all the after shtuff that does. I don’t want to have to drag it back to my car (deer have been known to run quite a distance after being hit), or go through the gutting stage. I’d much rather pay my neighbor, who does hunt, for part of the butcher costs, so my wife and I can enjoy her homemade burgers that are about half venison (YUM!)

That said, I’m also not a P.E.T.A. (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) person. Don’t get me wrong; if you mistreat an animal I would happily treat you in kind. But hunting, where the meat IS consumed, is not unethical treatment of animals. Darwinists would call that "survival of the fittest".

As the article stated, a large MAJORITY voted in favor of bow hunting. One person, who I’m guessing voted against, went so far as to sue the city.

I have no problem with a person exercising their rights to voice their opinion. The problem I have is that, like say writing a blog (ahem), it is easy to complain.

We have a society that loves to complain. We have no issue voicing our opinions (like, say in a blog - ahem). Probably because it is so easy to do in our social media world.

But sue? I’m sure the lawyers involved didn’t mind the income - er - work. But come on!

If you really cared about the deer, do something about them (beyond litigious, though admittedly, that IS something). But that’s tough.

Take your own land, put a large fence around it, and have any deer found wandering around Seven Hills brought to you. You can care for them. You can feed them. You can keep them healthy. And you can let them breed to their hearts’ content.

And you can take the money for additional appeals and use it there.

But no one wants to go that far. We say we care, but only when it doesn’t impact us directly.

So, do something. Me? I’m going to enjoy my venison burger.

© Emittravel 2017